Background: To investigate the relationship between exfoliation syndrome and sensorineural hearing loss.
Methods: A prospective study was designed. Patients with evidence of ocular exfoliation syndrome (study group) and individuals without any clinical signs of exfoliation syndrome (control group) were selected. Cases and controls were chosen to have similar demographic characteristics. Study and control group subjects with a history of conditions affecting hearing function were excluded. Pure-tone audiometry was performed in all participants in both groups and hearing thresholds were measured at frequencies of 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 and 8 kHz (kilohertz) for each ear.
Results: A total of 69 subjects participated in the study. The study group included 47 subjects and the control group 22. There was no significant difference in mean age (P = 0.985) and gender (P = 0.378) between groups. Mean pure-tone hearing thresholds were significantly higher in study group at frequencies of 4 kHz (P = 0.004) and 8 kHz (P = 0.001), but not at frequencies of 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz. The greatest difference in the comparison of mean hearing thresholds between study and control group was noted at 8 kHz.
Conclusions: The above results are in accordance with previous studies and provide additional evidence of the association between exfoliation syndrome and sensorineural hearing loss at high frequencies. Particular effect was shown on the highest frequency of 8 kHz. These findings may support the systemic nature of exfoliation syndrome.